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Christopher on October 16, 2019

Question 4: How do I distinguish between Conclusion and Subsidiary Conclusion

I am finding it difficult to distinguish between Main Conclusion and Subsidiary conclusion. Any tips you can provide (beyond which one supports the other)? It seems as if they could both support each other. Thanks, Chris

1 Reply

on October 17, 2019

Hello @ChrisH85,

You may be right that these conclusions could support one another, but only if we rearrange the argument. However, we need to follow the path of the argument that is given to us. The manner in which they are presented shows which conclusion leads to the other. We are not using our own logic here, we are evaluating the argument of the nutritionist as written. This is my best advice for identifying subsidiary conclusions on other questions.
Let's break down this passage.

Premise: Because humans have evolved very little since the development of agriculture...
Conclusion 1: is clear that humans are still biologically adapted to a diet of wild foods.

Premise: Straying from this diet has often resulted in health problems.
Which diet? The wild one presented in our first conclusion. We need that conclusion in order to offer this premise.
Conclusion 2: Thus, the more wild foods in our diet, the healthier we will be.

You wrote that it seems each conclusion could support the other. Let's take a closer look. Where is the support given for conclusion 1? It isn't conclusion 2. Rather, it is that first premise alone. We can be certain due to the "because of this, it is clear that..." format.

Where is the support for conclusion 2? It is the "health problems" premise that is built using conclusion 1. Conclusion 1 is used to create conclusion 2, and not the other way around.